Windows 11 (and 10) users have been experiencing a hefty wave of Edge ads lately, as Microsoft seems rather unwise to be dead trying to get people to use the browser instead of Chrome (or other rivals).
Windows latest (opens in a new tab) We’ve discovered several new ad initiatives, the first of which is an extension of something we recently wrote about.
It would be a pop-up that Microsoft presses on people using Edge when they go to the Google Chrome download page, in a very unsubtle attempt to convince this act of browser defection.
Previously, a pop-up informed users that Edge uses the same technology as Chrome (both are based on Chromium), but with “Microsoft trust added” (followed by a large advertising banner, albeit only in the testing phase).
Now, however, that initial pop-up has been slightly added to the bottom, noting that by clicking the “Browse Safely Now” button, you will set Edge as your default browser, and this offer is “valid for 1 person/account within the first 14 days of joining”.
Offer? What now? We’ll come back to this strange situation in a moment.
Windows Latest also points out that another new line of attack to drive Edge adoption targets those who have the Edge Bar enabled (an experimental feature that consists of a small floating bar). These users will see ads appearing on their desktop offering gift cards to conduct web searches using the aforementioned Edge bar.
This offer promises that if you use the Edge Bar for all your web search needs for three days, you’ll get a “free gift card” and some Microsoft points.
Usually, accumulating enough “Microsoft Rewards” points allows you to purchase a gift card, so it seems like you’ll get a heap of points for using the Edge Bar for that period of time (enough to make use of said gift card, which can be used to buy all sorts of things, for example, an app in the Microsoft Store).
Analysis: I’m trying too hard
This is all getting a little weird, although Microsoft encouraging the use of its products and services with bonus points to spend on gadgets in the company’s ecosystem is nothing new. Pop-ups appearing on the desktop, however, are a more direct method of persuasion than usual – although this only applies to people who have enabled this Edge bar.
Stranger still, it’s an add-on to the naked prompt that pops up when you go to the Chrome download page in Edge that says to change Microsoft’s browser to default as some kind of limited offer.
It’s just confusing, no doubt making people who see it think they’re going to get some sort of reward for the change. If there’s any doubt that by following the prompt and clicking the button to make Edge your default browser, you might gain something – like reward points – well, no.
There is no offer associated with this promotion at all, as Windows Latest found out when the site tested the prompt click. So we can only assume it’s a Microsoft bug and something that accidentally crept into the popup.
All of this follows various other elements of Edge’s dubious promotional activity, including a rather disturbing cross-platform shift in tactics. Yes, recently we’ve seen people using Outlook for iOS get pop-ups encouraging them to use Edge as their default option instead of Safari (or other competing browsers).
The momentum of all this nagging seems to be gaining momentum now, which is dangerous. Even as much of these measures are just being tested – or implemented with experimental features like the Edge bar – there are still strong signs that Microsoft is focused on increasing Edge adoption. Instead of letting the browser run on its own and users coming naturally, which would be, say, a more confident stance; and one less likely to backfire.